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Showing posts from May, 2010

Book review: "Vibrant Matter" by Jane Bennett

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Through history humans have debated how to understand and relate to their surrounding reality. We have all heard about societies that believed that every object and thing has a soul. Today this is commonly seen as a primitive and outdated view. The  dominating modern view is instead that reality consists of the human, spiritual, world of life, and on the other side the dead, material, world of matter. This division of living things from dead things is highly influential in the way humans think and act on their world.

However, in modern philosophy there is a new trend that is bringing the importance of objects and matter back into our focus. In a new book by Jane Bennett "Vibrant Matter-- a political ecology of things" one such position is presented. Bennett claims that her ambition is to develop a positive ontology of 'matter as vibrant', and to dismantle the divisions between the binaries life/matter, human/animal, organic/inorganic, and to do this with the purpose o…

Book review: "Everyday Engineering" edited by Dominique Vinck

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Ok, time for another book review. This time it is "Everyday Engineering -- An Ethnography of Design and Innovation" edited by Dominique Vinck (MIT Press). First of all, I find the study of practice to be one of the most exciting forms of research in design. So, this book has a promising title and the introduction also lives up to my expectations--it does aim at studying and describing practice without being prescriptive.

The book is written by a group of French engineering researchers and sociologists. The idea of the book is wonderful, it sets out to explore the complexity of 'real' engineering practice in relation to the 'simplistic' form of understanding that dominates engineering education and textbook based prescriptive models and methods.

The book also delivers, at least here and there, and is an interesting read. For instance, I liked the first chapter about the experience of a young and newly graduated engineer in his first job at CERN. The story is q…

Book Review: "The Design of Business" by Roger Martin

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One of the most interesting and surprising developments in design and particularly design thinking has happened at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Few if any other business schools have payed any attention to design as a potential philosophy of inquiry and action suitable for management. The Dean at the Rotman School is Roger Martin who has been instrumental and the force behind this development. Being a professor of strategic management he has pushed the school to adopt design thinking as a major approach when it comes to business strategy and management. He has earlier developed some of his ideas in the book "The Opposable Mind" (2007, and is now continuing to formulate his thoughts and approach in his new book "The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage".

This is a book whose audience is primarily people in the world of business and who do not know design thinking but might have heard the buzz. It …

Book review: "Change by Design" by Tim Brown

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Tim Brown is the CEO and President of the famous design company IDEO. In his new book "Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation" Brown explains his own view on the notion of design thinking. Brown has a long and successful experience as a designer and has many great stories to tell to support his claims about the benefits and nature of design thinking.


As we all know, design and especially design thinking has received extraordinary attention these last few years. It seems as if design thinking is seen as the solution for almost anything from modern product design, the new field of service design, organizational design, etc. Design thinking is in Brown's new book defined as the way to think as a designer but he also describes what that means when it comes to the process and activities.

I really like this book. For people who have heard about design thinking and do not really know what it is, I think this book is a great first …